Cryptominers hit 10x more organizations than ransomware in 2018

Cryptojacking is emerging as a growing threat to enterprise security, according to Check Point (Image stevanovicigor / iStockPhoto)

The second installment of Check Point Software Technologies' has 2019 Security Report highlights how the tools and services used to commit cybercrime have become democratized, with advanced attack methods now available to anyone willing to pay for them, as part of the growing ‘malware-as-a-service’ industry.

The second installment of the 2019 Security Report reveals the key cyber-attack trends observed by Check Point researchers during 2018, and shows the significant growth in stealthy, complex attacks designed to stay below the radar of enterprise security teams. It also shows the types of cyber attacks which enterprise IT and security teams rate as the biggest threats to their organizations.

Highlights include:

Cryptominers digging undetected on networks: cryptominers infected 10x more organizations than ransomware in 2018, but only one in five IT security professionals were aware their company’s networks had been infected by mining malware. 37% of organizations globally were hit by cryptominers in 2018, and 20% of companies continue to be hit every week despite an 80% fall in cryptocurrency values.

Threat risk of cryptominers underrated by organizations: when asked what they rated as the biggest threats to their organization, just 16% stated cryptomining, compared with DDoS attacks (34%), data breaches (53%), ransomware (54%) and phishing (66%). This is concerning, as cryptominers can easily act as stealth backdoors to download and launch other types of malware.

Malware-as-a-service rises: the GandCrab Ransomware-as-a-Service affiliate program shows how amateurs can now profit from the ransomware extortion business as well. Users keep up to 60% of the ransoms collected from victims, and its developers keep up to 40%. GandCrab has over 80 active affiliates, and within two months in 2018 had infected over 50,000 victims and claimed between US$300,000 and US$600,000 in ransoms.

“The second installment of our 2019 Security Report shows how cyber-criminals are successfully exploring stealthy new approaches and business models, such as malware affiliate programs, to maximize their illegal revenues while reducing their risk of detection. But out-of-sight shouldn’t mean out-of-mind: even though cyber attacks during 2018 have been lower-profile, they are still damaging and dangerous,” said Peter Alexander, Chief Marketing Officer of Check Point Software Technologies. “By reviewing and highlighting these developments in the Report, organizations can get a better understanding of the threats they face, and how they prevent them impacting on their business.”

Check Point’s 2019 Security Report is based on data from Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence, the largest collaborative network for fighting cybercrime which delivers threat data and attack trends from a global network of threat sensors; from Check Point’s research investigations over the last 12 months; and on a brand new survey of IT professionals and C-level executives that assesses their preparedness for today’s threats.

The report examines the latest emerging threats against various industry sectors, and gives a comprehensive overview of the trends observed in the malware landscape, in emerging data breach vectors, and in nation-state cyber-attacks. It also includes expert analysis from Check Point’s thought leaders, to help organizations understand and prepare themselves for today’s and tomorrow’s complex fifth-generation cyber-attacks and threats.

First published in Enterprise Innovation

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